Have you ever felt like you don’t belong anywhere? Like you just aren’t a good fit for the people around you?
It’s a common feeling that most everyone experiences at least once in their life.
Sometimes we may just be going through some temporary hard times where we feel we can’t really relate to anyone. Other times it may be the result of something deeper that needs to be addressed with the help of a mental health professional.
Either way, the need to belong is inherently part of being human. Every person, to some degree, needs to feel like they relate to someone around them.
If, right now, you feel like you don’t fit in with the people and places that surround you, there is likely a reason for it. A reason such as:
1. Your world view or personality is different than the norm.
Does the world make sense? Not usually.
It’s hard to figure out one’s place in the world when you are constantly bombarded from all sides from social media, traditional media, your friends and family, or even coworkers who feel you should see the world the same way they do.
Not everyone does, and that’s okay. It takes lots of different perspectives, ideas, and actions to make the world go round.
A differing world view or personality can feel isolating because you may not feel understood. And if you don’t feel understood, you won’t feel like you belong.
A good way to counter this feeling is to find other people who see the world through similar eyes. Look into groups, activities, or locations where you can meet other people with similar perspectives and interests.
2. You’re not expressing yourself well.
The ability to clearly communicate what you think and how you feel goes a long way toward helping you feel accepted and welcome.
You may not be articulating your innermost thoughts, desires, and passions in a clear, concise way to the people around you. If you have specific needs or wants, you have to express them clearly to a receptive audience.
Brush up on your communication skills. Contemplate how to say things that need to be said and practice, practice, practice. Communication is a skill that needs to be honed with practice over time.
3. You’re not hearing what others are trying to say.
The other half of communication is listening and actually hearing what other people have to say. This is an entirely different, unique skill that needs to be developed on its own.
People will say a lot of things, but others don’t always listen with the intent to understand. Instead, they listen to what the person is saying and then impose their own thoughts, opinions, or beliefs on the other person’s words.
They may just assume that certain thoughts, feelings, or actions are backed by different motivations other than what the original speaker intended.
The ability to listen is integral for clear communication which can help both parties feel understood and more easily reach a compromise when needed.
4. You or the people around you are changing and growing.
Life happens. The years go by and people change, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse.
Friends and family members are not always a consistent presence in your life. As time passes and people change, they will eventually need to travel down their own roads.
They may go off to college, get married, or move off to a new location in search of their own peace of mind and happiness.
Change is going to come whether we want it or not. We have no choice in the matter. What we can choose to do is embrace that change and move with it, allow ourselves to grow and evolve with life instead of fighting against it.
The good news is that there are a lot of people out there in the world who will bring a lot to your life, as you will to theirs. You just have to keep moving toward them.
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5. You or the people around you are stuck and stagnating.
The frustration of feeling stuck or stagnating can contribute to feelings of isolation and loneliness. That could be anything from a passionless relationship to a job that just doesn’t offer any degree of fulfillment.
Furthermore, if you are the kind of person who is interested in adventure or excitement, feeling bogged down or not stimulated is going to feel more isolating.
Sometimes, you just have to break out of that rut and mix things up a bit! Maybe it’s time for a career change, to pick up a new hobby, take a road trip, or even travel abroad – anything to break up the monotony a bit and get a breath of fresh air.
6. You may have mental health concerns that need addressing.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that nearly 1 in 4 adults is living with a diagnosable mental illness.
There are certain mental illnesses that can contribute to feeling like you’re isolated or alone. Social anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses can make a person feel misunderstood and as though they are standing completely alone in a world full of people.
The good news is that many mental health issues can be confronted and overcome! A person may find therapy helpful, can learn ways to manage and reduce those negative feelings, or may need something more.
If your feelings of isolation are persistent or intense, it’s a good idea to talk to a counselor about them. They will likely be able to help you identify the source of those feelings and find a way to improve on them.
7. You may be living in an area that is a bad culture fit.
You know what? Some people just feel like they don’t belong in certain areas. This delves into a delicate area where emotions can run high and different people interpret the world in different ways.
Open-minded people may not do well in a predominantly closed-minded population. Perhaps you look, dress, or act in a drastically different way than the people in your community, thus not fitting in well socially.
A change of location and environment to one more in tune with who you are as a person may be in order! There’s no real reason to spend one’s life miserable and unhappy, living in a place where they may feel ostracized or unwelcome.
It’s okay to be who you are and to feel how you feel, but of course, everyone else in the world may not agree. Moving to a location with more agreeable people may be a better option.
8. You may not be receptive enough to the opportunities around you.
Far too many people think that friends and opportunities are going to come batter down their door.
This isn’t going to happen.
You must be willing to put yourself out there if you want to accomplish anything, whether that is making new friends, finding acceptance, learning something new, or developing a career.
Furthermore, people have a bad habit of overlooking opportunities that might be right in front of them. Perhaps those people who are different than you are trying to welcome you as best as they can.
Not everyone is going to understand you or the way you want to live your life; and you may not understand theirs. Making an effort to bridge the gap in a way that does not compromise the most important parts of you is a good way to find connections with other people.
You can have a good time with just about anyone if you are open and receptive to them.
Smiles and laughter transcend so many social barriers.